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Age nothing but a number?

Marketers have historically used age as a key metric in targeting customers, yet research shows that attitude is increasingly becoming a better indicator of consumer interest. A recent study by Network Research, which looked at 1,500 UK consumers, confirms that both rational and emotional attitudes offer a way to effectively target communications, and might even exceed the importance of more popular criteria such as age, gender and income.

The study reveals a number of specific consumer preferences centred around attitude. For instance, 'having children' is a significant influencing factor in consumers recommending certain brands: 64.7% of consumers with children are likely to recommend the retailer M&S, while only 35.6% without children recommend the brand. The attitudes of consumers with or without children are so consistent that 19 out of 20 brands in the study share the same correlation.

Another interesting finding debunks the theory that certain brands resonate more strongly with less affluent individuals. Research on budget retailer Primark, for instance, shows that those in social grades AB and C1 are likely to recommend the brand at nearly equal rates of 21.8% and 23.1%, respectively. A brand perceived as an option for lower income consumers might therefore be missing out on the opportunity to convert higher-income individuals if attitude, behaviour and contextual factors are overlooked when developing a targeted marketing strategy.

Client Development Director at Network Research, David Pritchard, commented on the findings: "just looking at young people [as a target market] doesn’t give a brand granularity, and they might be missing out on an enormous part of a prospective audience."

However, that's not to say that traditional demographic segmentation serves no purpose, or should be 'scrapped' – merely that it's important to dig deeper in order to understand audiences on a more meaningful level, by analysing behavioural markers and attitudes. Pritchard continues: "[the report] understands that audiences lie outside of your traditional target and there are other attitudes and behaviours that will lead people to engage with your brand and your category."

Brands overlooking attitudes may therefore simply be missing a key piece of the puzzle to most effectively reach their audiences. To find out how censhare is helping brands to manage their audience data to create highly targeted, effective communications, explore our Advanced Analytics and Targeting solutions.